Washington is the latest state to pass additional pay equity protections. One year after enacting the 2018 Equal Pay and Opportunity Act, which included an array of enhanced pay equity provisions, the legislature passed HB 1696, which restricts pay history inquires and enhances pay transparency requirements. The bill passed on a near party-line vote. Governor Jay Inslee is expected to sign the legislation, which would go into effect 90 days later.

Pay History

Washington will be the eighth state to ban all public and private employers from (1) seeking the wage or salary history from an applicant or the applicant’s current or former employer; or (2) relying on prior wage or salary history to set pay.

Pay Transparency

HB 1696 also includes a requirement that after an employment offer has been made, employers (with at least fifteen employees), upon request, provide the minimum wage or salary for the applicant’s new position. Additionally, if requested, employers must provide wage scale or salary ranges for internally transferred employees.

Finally, when no wage or salary range exists, employers must provide the minimum wage or salary expectation prior to posting the position, making the position transfer, or making the promotion.

What Should Employers Do?

Employers, if they have not already done so, should consider removing salary history questions from employment application materials and train all recruiters to comply with state and local bans regarding salary history.

Our Pay Equity Resource Group will continue to report on this and other pay equity laws as they develop.